ISLAMABAD - With an aim to disassociate himself from the November 3, 2007 imposition of emergency, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is these days busy giving final touches to his autobiography expected to hit the stands within a few weeks, it was learnt.
An important portion of the autobiography being brought out by London Publishers will focus on important happenings during his premiership tenure, especially the last month of 2007, when emergency was imposed in the country by the then military ruler Pervez Muasharraf for which he is facing a treason case in a special court these days.
Musharraf and his lawyers have time and again contended that the former military ruler was not alone in making the decision about the November 3 emergency as consultations were held with the federal cabinet under the then premier Aziz. But Aziz and top civilian authorities of those days are not ready to take part of the blame for the 2007 emergency and say it was the decision of the inner circle of Musharraf.
The sources close to Shaukat Aziz claim though he was the premier at the time of imposition of emergency, but had very little say in making important decisions of the government which was in the iron grip of the then military strongman while Aziz was considered just as a rubber-stamp premier by the top aides of Musharraf. “Shaukat Aziz used to seek advice-cum-directions from Tariq Aziz and Lt-Gen Hamid Javed as well as the chiefs of military agencies on important matters,” a former civil bureaucrat close to Aziz during his premiership told The Nation on anonymity. “Tariq Aziz was so powerful in Musharraf’s era that he used to hand over written instructions to the then foreign minister on key issues,” he added. “But Shaukat Aziz was elevated due to his strong American connections as well as strong support by Musharraf’s top aides like Lt-Gen (r) Nadeem Taj as well as backing from Chaudhry Shujaat’s family despite fierce opposition from Tariq Aziz and associates,” he revealed. But throughout his premiership, Aziz remained subservient to the whims of Musharraf and no one in the civil and military bureaucracy denies this fact. As a handpicked of the military ruler he also remained indebted to him and carried out his instructions in letter and spirit.
Shaukat Aziz has been living a quiet life in London since he stepped down as the premier in 2007. He is giving consultancies to some countries like Hong Kong and Brunei and is also using his years-long association with Gulf’s Arab princes to find safe investment heavens for their financial treasures.
Shaukat who first joined Musharraf’s cabinet as finance minister after the military coup in October 1999 continued on the same post after general elections 2002 till he was elevated as the country’s premier in August 2004. He remained on this slot till mid November 2007.
Aziz was considered the architect of the post-coup 1999 economic uplift of the country, and many believe, he was elevated as premier with the major task to improve economic indicators as well as system of governance.
Though he was chief executive of the country, still foreign, defence and political issues of the country were handled by top confidants of Musharraf. Tariq Aziz, first as principal secretary to Musharraf, and after 2002 elections as secretary, National Security Council, handled internal political issues as well as sensitive areas of the foreign policy in those days. Musharrf’s chief of staff, head of the military intelligence agencies and the military bureaucracy had major say in important defence and foreign affairs issues. On the political side, Tariq Aziz, PML-Q President Ch Shujaat Hussain and the then Punjab Chief Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi influenced decision-making. The Chaudhrys ended Shaukat Aziz’s political career in November 2007 when he was not awarded a party ticket of PML-Q for the February 2008 elections. In his quest to become premier, Ch Pervaiz Elahi considered Aziz as a potential threat to his ambition. But agreement between Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto also ended PML-Q’s chances to return to power after the 2008 elections. And it was after PML-N’s quitting alliance with PPP over restoration of judge’s issues that PML-Q formed alliance with PPP at the Centre to become par part of the ruling coalition.